November 24, 2008

Through various activities at my children's school, I've had the chance to get to know some of their friends. I've been pleased to see the diversity among the small student body; for instance, one of my sons has a friend from India, while another has a classmate from China.
As it turns out, both of those young boys have parents at Baylor--one a student at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and the other working on a PhD through the English department. I am excited knowing these friendships will provide my children valuable insight into the lives of families from such different cultures and experiences, and that these families are here because of Baylor. 
As the community on campus has become more international in recent years, it stands to reason that the University's alumni are also scattering across the world in greater numbers than ever. Whether it's international students who have returned to their native lands or American alumni making their home in another country, Baylor has been making a concerted effort to reconnect with Bears living abroad. Much like they do for students in Waco, Diadeloso and Steppin' Out events in cities across the globe are bringing together Baylor alumni from different decades in different parts of the world to connect and celebrate their green and gold memories. To read more about the efforts of Baylor's Global Network, read "Going global."
The study of different cultures is also a new focus of Baylor's Institute for the Studies of Religion (ISR). In addition to their much-publicized bi-annual study of religion in America, the ISR is also conducting groundbreaking research on religion in China and Latin America, as well as exploring the effects of faith on pro-social behavior here in the United States. What answers are they finding? Check out "Questions of faith."
While ISR studies religions of all kinds, one denomination in particular is the focus of "The Baptist Story." Dr. Doug Weaver, a Baylor religion professor, provides a brief history of Baptists as we approach the 400th anniversary of the 1609 founding of the first "Baptist" church. Throughout the next year, Baylor University is celebrating its Baptist heritage through a variety of conferences, lectures, exhibits and performances. Weaver's story and the accompanying essay from Interim President David Garland, dean of Baylor's Truett Seminary, provide a refresher on where Baptists have come from and just what it means to be Baptist.
It's been said that variety is the spice of life; if that is true, then attending Baylor today is a richer and more flavorful experience than ever before. The student body is both larger and more diverse than ever--both in obvious demographics like ethnicity, but also in other ways. Some are the first in their family to attend college, while others come from a long line of Baylor graduates. Today's students come from small schools and large schools, from around Texas and around the world. One of our writers spoke to a few such students, and despite their varying backgrounds and reasons for choosing Baylor, they all spoke positively and enthusiastically about their Baylor experiences ("Faces of Baylor").
And lest I forget, business professor Dr. William Thomas, BBA '69, MBA '71, brings us our second Master Teacher essay, perfect for this Thanksgiving season. Read "Standing on tall shoulders" to discover what Dr. Thomas is thankful for and what he loves about Baylor. Afterwords, if you've got some time, send us an e-mail and let us know what you love about Baylor as well. We'd love to hear from you!